SPICES AND HERBS USED IN GEORGIAN CUISINE

A tradition of home-cooked meals means that markets in Georgia overflow with a vast array of spices and herbs that give Georgian cuisine its rich flavors and aromas.

Georgian Spices

In this article we describe some of the spices and herbs that are most commonly used in Georgian cooking.

Georgian Spices in market

Buckets of spices in a Georgian Market

We have included links to examples of our step-by-step photo recipes that use the described spices and herbs.

Coriander Seeds

Coriander Seeds

All parts of the coriander plant (Georgian: ქინძი) are edible, but the fresh leaves and the dried seeds are the parts most traditionally used in Georgian cooking. Georgian recipes that use ground coriander seeds include: Tolma (Georgian: ტოლმა) – a filled, hollowed-out vegetable or a filling wrapped in a leaf; and Chicken Liver Chashushuli.

Blue Fenugreek Seeds

Blue Fenugreek Seeds

Blue fenugreek (Georgian: უცხო სუნელი) grows wild in the mountainous northern part of Georgia and is widely used to flavor food. In Georgia it is called utskho suneli or foreign spice and is prepared by grinding together the seeds and pods to yield a tan powder that is aromatic and mildly spicy.

Blue Fenugreek

Blue Fenugreek

Georgian recipes that use blue fenugreek include: Kababi; and Khabakhi (Georgian: ყაბაყი) – zucchini fried with vegetables and spices.

Dried Berberis Berries

Dried Berberis Berries

The berberis plant (Georgian: კოწახური), commonly called European barberry or simply Barberry, grows wild in Georgia and produces large crops of edible berries that are rich in vitamin C. Ground sumac, which is available in Middle Eastern food stores may be substituted for dried berberis in recipes.

Crushed Berberis Berries

Crushed Berberis Berries

Georgian recipes that use dried berberis include: Ojakhuri  pork with potatoes; and Barbecued pork with red onion.

Dried Marigold Flower Petals

Dried Marigold Flower Petals

Georgians use the dried and ground petals of the marigold (Georgian: ყვითელი ყვავილი) to give an earthy flavor and color to walnut dishes and sauces, such as bazhe.

Marigold

Marigold

Georgian recipes that use marigold include: Walnuts and spices wrapped in cabbage leaves; and Eggplant with walnuts and spices.

Caraway Seeds

Caraway Seeds

Ground caraway seeds (Georgian: ძირა) are a favorite ingredient in dishes originating from Georgia’s mountain regions. The seeds can be ground in a coffee mill or spice grinder to produce a powder. Georgian recipes that use ground caraway seeds include: Khinkali (Georgian: ხინკალი) – a very popular Georgian dumpling.

Dried Ajika

Dried Ajika

Dried Ajika (Georgian: აჯიკა). Ajika is a hot, spicy paste used to flavor meat and fish dishes mainly in Samegrelo and Abkhazia. It is made with hot red peppers, garlic, herbs and spices. In appearance and consistency ajika resembles Italian red pesto. In its dried form it is used to flavor meat and vegetables.

Svanetian Salt

Svanetian Salt

Svanetian salt (Georgian: სვანური მარილი), from Svaneti region in the mountainous north-western part of Georgia, has a unique fragrance and taste and is traditionally used as a flavoring for a variety of meat, fish, potato and soup dishes as well as a condiment instead of table salt. The salt mixture is handmade in a special wooden mortar from a minimum of 8 ingredients, including regular salt, garlic, marigold, coriander and blue fenugreek. To prepare 1 kg. of Svanetian salt takes several hours of mixing.

Megrelian Salt

Megrelian Salt

Megrelian Salt, from Samegrelo region is very spicy and much hotter than Svanetian salt.

Basil

Basil

Two types of basil (Georgian: რეჰანი) are used in Georgian cooking, the green leafed variety and the purple leafed dark opal basil. Both fresh and dried basil is used. Georgian recipes that use basil include: Mushroom Chashushuli and Green Bean and Egg Bake, as well as salads.

Summer Savory

Summer Savory

Fresh and dried Summer Savory is used to flavor meats and vegetables. Georgian recipes that use summer savory include: Tkemali (Georgian ტყემალი) sour plum sauce.

Dried Bay Leaves

Dried Bay Leaves

Dried Bay leaves are extensively used in the preparation of meat dishes, especially pork. They are also used in marinades and in cooking some vegetable dishes. Georgian recipes that use bay leaves include: Lobio (Georgian: ლობიო) – a popular dish made with kidney beans; and Lobio with nuts (Georgian: ლობიო ნიგვზით).

Garlic

Garlic

In Georgia, garlic (Georgian: ნიორი) is a fundamental ingredient of many recipes, such as Shkmeruli (Georgian: შქმერული) – chicken dish from the Racha region; Chakapuli (Georgian: ჩაქაფული) – a popular Georgian stew made with lamb or beef; and Ham Chashushuli (რაჭული ლორის ჩაშუშული).

Parsley

Parsley

Fresh parsley is widely used in Georgian cuisine, both as an ingredient and as a garnish. Georgian recipes that use parsley include: Eggplant with spicy mayonnaise (Georgian: ბადრიჯანი მაიონეზით).

Dried Coarse Hot Pepper

Dried Coarse Hot Pepper

Georgian recipes that use dried hot pepper include: Chakhokhbili (Georgian: ჩახოხბილი) – chicken with herbs; and Tolma (Georgian: ტოლმა ბულგარული წიწაკით) – stuffed peppers.

Other popular spices and herbs used in Georgian cuisine include mint, cloves, nutmeg and mace and cinnamon.

Spice in a Georgian Market

Spice in a Georgian Market

Spice Vendor in a Georgian Market

Spice Vendor in a Georgian Market

Use traditional spices and herbs in our Georgia About recipes and enjoy authentic Georgian cuisine!

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Comments
8 Responses to “SPICES AND HERBS USED IN GEORGIAN CUISINE”
  1. Judy says:

    How do I find blue fenugreek and berberis here in WI in the USA? Can I order herbs and spices directly from Georgia?

  2. piiasirel says:

    This is exactly what I need! Thank you!

  3. Tea says:

    I really wish there was a way to order these spices online or import them somehow.

  4. Michael says:

    Check out http://www.aroma.ge for spices. The place I have found them is in Russian supermarkets. Find a large Russian population and your will find the spices there!

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  1. […] Read more about Georgian herbs and spices. […]

  2. […] dishes and sauces in order to enhance the color and provide earthy taste to the dishes ( Source: Georgian Recipes ). Accompaniment for fresh home-baked Georgian bread can be Lobio Qotanshi ( boiled bean in clay […]



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  • CHASHUSHULI WITH SUMMER SAVORY

  • FKHALI WITH BEETROOT LEAVES AND NUTS

  • GURIAN CHEESE AND EGG FILLED PASTRY

  • LOBIO WITH MINT AND EGGS

  • MEGRELIAN AJIKA

  • TOLMA SPICY SOUR CREAM AND TOMATO SAUCE

  • GREEN AJIKA

  • CHAKHRAGINA -OSSETIAN KHACHAPURI

  • TOLMA (DOLMA) – STUFFED VINE LEAVES

  • CHICKEN LIVER WITH RED WINE AND SVANETIAN SALT

  • MOKHRAKULI KHACHAPURI

  • KABABI WITH POMEGRANATE JUICE

  • GEORGIAN LOBIO WITH NUTS

  • MEGRULI KHACHAPURI

  • GREEN BEANS WITH NUTS

  • DARK GRAPE PELAMUSHI WITH CORN FLOUR

  • EGGPLANT “CAVIAR” WITH POMEGRANATE

  • MARINATED GREEN TOMATOES

  • KETSULA - CHICKEN WITH SOUR CREAM AND SPICES

  • BADAGI

  • CHICKEN WITH GREEN AJIKA

  • PELAMUSHI – TATARA

  • KHACHAPURI WITH POTATO FILLING

  • FRIED BEETROOT WITH TOMATOES AND SPICES

  • SHKMERULI – CHICKEN COOKED IN MILK AND GARLIC

  • EKALA FKHALI

  • MUSHROOM CHASHUSHULI WITH POTATOES

  • CHAKHOKHBILI – CHICKEN WITH HERBS

  • CHAKAPULI RECIPE

  • FRIED KHINKALI

  • SVANETIAN KHACHAPURI WITH GREEN ONIONS

  • FRIED GREEN TOMATOES WITH ONION AND CARROT

  • KUBDARI - SVANETIAN MEAT PASTRY

  • WILD OYSTER MUSHROOM PASTRY

  • AJIKA WITH TOMATOES

  • EGGPLANT WITH WALNUTS AND HERBS

  • LOBIO WITH FRIED HAM

  • BEETROOT FKHALI WITH WALNUTS

  • EGGPLANT WITH PEPPERS AND SVANETIAN SALT

  • PORK CHASHUSHULI WITH MUSHROOMS AND MEGRELIAN AJIKA

  • LOBIO WITH CHEESE

  • ELARJI – CORNMEAL WITH SULGUNI CHEESE

  • KHABAKHI – FRIED MARROW

  • OJAKHURI – FAMILY MEAL

  • GEORGIAN SALAD

  • LEEK SATSIVI

  • SPICY TOMATO SAUCE

  • CHICKEN LIVER WITH AJIKA AND SUMMER SAVORY

  • OJAKHURI WITH CHICKEN AND FRIED POTATOES FLAVORED WITH MARIGOLD

  • OYSTER MUSHROOMS WITH EGGS AND SWEET RED PEPPER

  • LOBIO WITH SWEETCORN

  • CHICKEN WITH SPICY HAZELNUT SAUCE

  • CHICKEN BARBECUE

  • LOBIO WITH TOMATOES AND SPICES

  • BAKED MUSHROOMS FILLED WITH SULGUNI CHEESE

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